Modelling development of riparian ranchlands using ecosystem services at the Aravaipa Watershed, SE Arizona

Land
By: , and 

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Abstract

This paper describes how subdivision and development of rangelands within a remote and celebrated semiarid watershed near the US-Mexico border might affect multiple ecohydrological services provided, such as recharge of the aquifer, water and sediment yield, water quality, flow rates and downstream cultural and natural resources. Specifically, we apply an uncalibrated watershed model and land-change forecasting scenario to consider the potential effects of converting rangelands to housing developments and document potential changes in hydrological ecosystem services. A new method to incorporate weather data in watershed modelling is introduced. Results of introducing residential development in this fragile arid environment portray changes in the water budget, including increases in surface-water runoff, water yield, and total sediment loading. Our findings also predict slight reductions in lateral soil water, a component of the water budget that is increasingly becoming recognized as critical to maintaining water availability in arid regions. We discuss how the proposed development on shrub/scrub rangelands could threaten to sever imperative ecohydrological interactions and impact multiple ecosystem services. This research highlights rangeland management issues important for the protection of open-space, economic valuation of rangeland ecosystem services, conservation easements, and incentives to develop markets for these.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Modelling development of riparian ranchlands using ecosystem services at the Aravaipa Watershed, SE Arizona
Series title Land
DOI 10.3390/land8040064
Volume 8
Issue 4
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description 21 p.
Country United States
State Arizona